Famous Lights

Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

The information contained in this section is taken verbatim from HISTORICALLY FAMOUS LIGHTHOUSES - CG-232. Although the format has been changed slightly for better reading and display. BJ 'n Cindy

In 1771 the first wooden tower at Portsmouth Harbor was built on a point of land running out into the harbor. This early colonial tower was one of the 12 lighthouses turned over to the Federal Government under the act of August 7, 1789. The original tower was replaced by another wooden tower in 1804. In 1877 this second tower was removed and a cast-iron beacon erected 1,000 feet east of the first station. This was on ground known as Newcastle. In reaching the lighthouse by land one has to pass through the "Old Fort" yard before arriving at the lighthouse reservation. For 30 years after its first settlement in 1623, this area was known as "Strawberry Bank" because of a large patch of wild strawberries on the bank of the river.

In 1789 George Washington visited the Portsmouth Lighthouse and remained in Portsmouth 4 days. Earlier in 1782 General Lafayette had been a lighthouse visitor. Daniel Webster practiced law here in 1807, and was a frequent visitor at the lighthouse during his 9 years of residence in Portsmouth.

Today the lighthouse is a white conical tower, with a fog signal house attached, built on Fort Point. It rises 52 feet above the water and its 3,000 candlepower fourth-order electric light flashes a green light visible 13 miles. During fog a bell strikes once every 10 seconds. (5) (7)